On Thursday afternoon, nearly 200 people poured into the Franklin Marriott in Cool Springs for the first “Lunch that Matters” event, presented by the local Women of Williamson nonprofit.
People gathered around tables as they listened to representatives of local nonprofits explain their charity and specific programs over lunch. The organizations were specifically chosen to reflect women-focused ministries.
In the hallway outside the luncheon, the charities had tables where attendees could learn more about each organization.
At the end of the presentation, attendees were asked to donate to their favorite organization by filling out a card at their table.
Event emcee Demetria Kalodimos referenced the 2010 flooding in Middle Tennessee as an example of how the community comes together to serve.
In the Nashville area, Kalodimos said she has seen the power of women caring for their families and for one another.
“They have each other’s backs instead of stabbing them,” she said.
Women of Williamson is an organization formed to empower women and provide opportunities for growth and education. WOW has partnered with End Slavery TN, Healing Housing, Williamson Medical Center and several other organizations in the past.
The following nonprofits presented during the luncheon:
• Bridges Domestic Violence Shelter: Provides emergency shelter to those experiencing domestic violence crisis.
• GraceWorks Ministries: GraceWorks provides rent assistance, a food pantry, thrift store and other assistance to those in need.
• The Refuge Center for Counseling: The Refuge Center offers affordable mental health counseling.
• WAVES: A social services organization based in Williamson County, Waves provides opportunities for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities to succeed.
• Habitat for Humanity Women Build: This program of the national organization teaches women how to build and construct homes under professional guidance.
• Doorstep Project: It offers interim housing in the county for survivors of domestic abuse, allowing them to stay in the county where they work and their children attend school. Women are required to pay rent throughout the program, which is returned to them at the end of the program as a nest egg for a future home. This new program is an offshoot of Bridges.
• WOW Scholarships: This is provided by Women of Williamson to fund continuing education. Since 2007, they have donated nearly $110,000 in scholarship funds.
Michelle Koehly was the event chair and is one of 20 women involved with Women of Williamson. She said WOW went through a list of area nonprofits and narrowed them down based on which ones were female-focused. Then, they sent out applications for the nonprofits to submit.
Due to the overwhelming response, Koehly anticipates the event will return again next year.